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Judge orders Alabama to remove Ten Commandments monument Monday, November 18, 2002 Posted: 5:04 PM EST (2204 GMT)
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore had the monument placed in the state courts building.
MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AP) -- A Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of Alabama's judicial building violates the constitution's ban on government promotion of religion, a federal judge ruled Monday.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who had had the 5,300-pound granite monument installed in the state building, 30 days to remove it.
Moore testified during the trial that the commandments are the moral foundation of American law. He said the monument acknowledges God, but does not force anyone to follow his conservative Christian religious beliefs.
A lawsuit seeking removal of the monument argued that it promoted the judge's faith in violation of the constitution's ban on government establishment of religion.
"This is a question of whether the politically powerful can impose their views on others," Southern Poverty Law Center attorney Danielle Lipow argued during the trial before Thompson.
Moore testified he decided to locate a monument to the Ten Commandments in the building shortly after he was elected chief justice in November 2000.
The monument, which features the King James Bible version of the Ten Commandments sitting on top of a granite block, is one of the first things visitors see upon entering the building.